Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Exhibitions at MOCA

In an earlier post, I mentioned how I will be volunteering at MOCA Cleveland. One of the perks of volunteering there is that you get a sneak peek of the exhibitions before they open to the public.

Now that the show is open, Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer has written a great review of Side By Side, which features 10 regional artists displayed in pairs to create dialogue.

  • Check out this exhibition, but don't overlook the dramatic photographs taken by Seydou Keita in the front gallery. Both exhibitions are open through May 13.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do Plants Boost Creativity?

According to research conducted at Texas A&M University, adding potted plants and flowers to your office can significantly enhance problem-solving and creative thinking skills. The study revealed that being surrounded by plants caused men to produce more ideas, while women developed more creative and innovative solutions. Read it here.
  • Bring a plant to work and see if you become more creative.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Unleash Your Inner Maverick

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to hear Polly LaBarre speak about her new book Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. Polly is a native Cleveland girl made good in NYC. She spent many years on the staff of Fast Company, so she knows a thing or two about creativity and the workplace.

The book is written in the same eloquent and concise way that Polly speaks. It features about 2 dozen or so companies and how they are revolutionizing the world of work through their innovative practices.

Some of my favorite examples from the book include Cleveland-based NineSigma, who is revolutionizing the global network of innovation allowing creative solutions to be found easier. They do this by maintaining a network of the top talent in science and technology that they can tap into when a company comes to them looking to solve a problem or develop new research.

Dan Weiden, cofounder of Weiden+Kennedy, an advertising agency best known for coining Nike's "Just Do It" slogan, is another creative maverick. His company's headquarters in Portland are housed in a former cold storage facility and infused with plenty of outside energy. Weiden even invited the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art to move in to provide new insights and inspiration for W+K's staff.

Finally, We've all heard of Pixar, the animation giant, but have you heard about Pixar University? This is where Pixar employees are encouraged to take up to 4 hours a week worth of classes that range from creative writing to belly dancing. It allows employees to explore new ideas and learn to work better with colleagues. Now that's a creative place to work and somewhere my lifelong learning addiction could be fed.

  • Are you working for a maverick organization?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Have An Inspired Stay

Looking for a creative place to stay the next time you are in Louisville, KY?

  • Check out this new hotel that features contemporary art and even has a museum shop.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are You A Young Genius Or Old Master?

While flipping through the November 2006 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, I came across this fascinating interview with a Chicago economist. David Galenson has completed a study on artistic genius by combing through records, books and exhibitions to determine when an artist's most successful works were completed. He concludes that there are definite cycles of creativity. While some artists are most prolific during their early career, others perfect their techniques and see their works prosper later in life, often when other artists are inspired by them.

Galenson also describes the distinct thinking styles of Young Geniuses and Old Masters. While Young Geniuses are more conceptual and may flit from one idea to the next, Old Masters prefer time and trial and error to hone their style. So if you feel like you haven't reached your creative peak yet keep pursuing your dream, and it may come true.

  • So are you an Young Genius or an Old Master?

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Creative Personality

Do creative individuals have a different mindset and perspective than the rest of us? Some experts seem to think so. I've compiled an abbreviated list of these traits:

Visually literate

  • What would you add to this list?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

To Docent or Not To Docent

I swore off working in museums 6 months ago, but I soon realized I couldn't let go completely. So, I took stock of what I liked about art and museums and realized that my heart lay in contemporary art and giving tours. This prompted me to sign up to be a docent at Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art, because it fit into both of my passions.

Well, I just completed my first day of Docent Education, which is funny, because I am so old school that I actually still call it Docent Training. It brought me back to my grad school days of studying art and theory. All I could think when I left was wow, this is what I have been craving - intellectual stimulation, which only contemporary art can give you. Theories layered and displayed in visual form; is there anything that brings you closer to creativity than art?

  • To get yourself closer to creativity and to get a behind the scenes view of the art world, volunteer at your favorite cultural organization.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Use It or Lose It

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” - - - Albert Einstein

  • Strengthen yours here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Brainstorm Your Way to Success

The following puzzle is adapted from the work of Michael Michalko, a leading expert in the field of creative thinking skills and strategies.

Count up the number of Os in the following diagram:


How did you solve this puzzle? Were you like most people and you actually counted all the Os? Or did you take the novel approach and figure out the total number of Xs and Os then subtract the Xs to determine the answer?

  • What would happen if you looked at your own problem a little differently and came up with a new solution?